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  • Writer's pictureJuliet Weller

The Whales Have Returned to Banderas Bay

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

I'm still here in Mexico, enjoying the summer that seems to go on forever. Mornings are pleasantly cool and days are not sweltering, a decent mid-80s at most. We take a daily walk or run on the beach at low tide and scope out what the waves have left behind. So what's this about whales?

I have been here at least twice annually for the last eight years, so by now I know that the humpback whales move south from colder Pacific water, to over-winter like snowbirds in the tropical conditions. Eventually, they are joined by bottlenose dolphins, and I'm sure many other species escaping the frigid north. Typically they arrive mid-December, and this year they were right on time. As it's our daily habit to have morning coffee on the balcony with binoculars at the ready, we watch the birds, boats, and fishermen doing their morning cavorting (no, not the fishermen) on the water. We spotted the first whale spout on Wednesday, then four more on Thursday. We were excited at the promise of additional morning entertainment. So...what's my point?

The rhythms of the planet is my point. By that I mean the natural cycles and events that we count on and celebrate as part of our existence on planet Earth. The majority often pass unnoticed: sunrise and sunset, the seasons, the tides. But every now and then we get reminders to stop and smell the roses, and that every one of those 'roses' is worth acknowledging with gratitude, amazement and a mental record of its occurrence (these days, not as much mental as by selfie or social media post - but that's not important). What's important is the stopping and the smelling of the rose, the enjoyment and celebration of the rose's existence.

And isn't that what travel is about? It is for me; it doesn't have to be that for you, but surely there is something that is. What is worthy of your celebration? The Aurora Borealis? The cherry blossoms at Washington, D.C.'s tidal pool? The swallows returning to Capistrano? Even when your travel is business-related, or the trip's goal is to highlight food and wine, culture, history, or architecture, chances are there is a local natural phenomenon that will pull you into awareness of Mother Earth's power, beauty, and perhaps, dominance. Volcanic eruptions notwithstanding, signs of Earth's awe-inspiring rhythms are everywhere; they remind us to enjoy them, seek them out whenever and wherever we are, and for some travelers, are part of the of the journey, if not the actual destination. Just as important, is the awareness that we have no role in their occurrence, and that being vigilant about them will benefit our enjoyment (in the case of whales), or...and fortunately, less frequently...our survival. Go out and enjoy.

'til next week

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